Carter-Williams emerging as Sixers' leader

Michael Carter-Williams in action during an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Saturday, March 15, 2014, in Philadelphia. (Matt Slocum/AP)

HOUSTON – Michael Carter-Williams is emerging as the 76ers’ leader.

The rookie point guard saw several long faces from teammates during Thursday’s 120-98 setback to the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center. It was the Sixers’ NBA-record-tying 26th consecutive loss. So once the game was over, the 6-foot-6, 180-pounder gave a speech to his teammates in the visitors’ locker room.

“I just don’t want anybody in this locker room feeling bad for themselves,” he said of his actions. “We’re out on the court, getting better and trying to play. I just told them ‘Each and every game from here on out, just going out swinging. We can’t give up and-one and we’ve got to put people on. We’ve just got to fight every single day whether it’s in practice or in the game. ’ ”

This was a speech Carter-Williams would not have made at the start of the season. Back then, he was an aloof and quiet newcomer.

“I felt like I just needed to speak my piece,” he said, “make sure our guys are upbeat every single day.”

Carter-Williams made just 2 of 11 shots to finish with four points. But he finished with a team-high 10 assists, two steals and three turnovers in 27 minutes, 43 seconds of action.

“Michael was fantastic in making sure we get our bodies right, hydration in our bodies,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “All those things we preached from Day 1, he’s leading us on. And I’m proud of what he said.”

Follow and contact Inquirer 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers